All posts by mmillard

May 14, 2020: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 86

Recent Publications and New Research

New Issue and Symposium: Hyndman, J., & Reynolds, J. (eds.) (2020). Beyond the Global Compacts. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 36(1). This issue argues that while constructive and impressive in many respects, the global compacts are unlikely to shift the political and institutional frameworks that manage migration. Rather, the authors contend they will maintain the status quo whereby migration is encouraged to stay within Global South countries or people are turned away from state borders as they approach the Global North. The articles in this issue challenge the standard solutions and responses to displacement and migration. (Open access) Read here.

Shivakoti R. (2020) Protection or Discrimination? The Case of Nepal’s Policy Banning Female Migrant Workers. In: Joshi D., Brassard C. (eds) Urban Spaces and Gender in Asia. Sustainable Development Goals Series. Springer, Cham. This chapter introduces a policy that has been adopted by several Asian countries which bans female migrant workers from going to certain countries with the rationale of protecting them from possible harm and abuse. The chapter uses the case of Nepal to argue that governments use this policy despite knowing its lack of effectiveness in protecting women from abuse because it provides a short-term solution, allows for blame avoidance and because of their own limitation to influence another country’s laws to protect their migrant workers. Read here.

Reiko, S. (2019). Belonging in Translation: Solidarity and Migration Activism in Japan. Bristol University Press. This is the first book to investigate how migrants and migrant rights activists work together to generate new forms of citizenship identities through the use of language. This book is an original take on citizenship and community from the perspective of translation, and an amalgamation of theory and detailed empirical analysis based on ethnographic case studies of Japan. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Duale, M. (May 5, 2020) To be a refugee, it’s like to be without your arms, legs: a narrative inquiry into refugee Participation in Kakuma Refugee Camp and Nairobi, Kenya. The Local Engagement Refugee Research Network. Drawing from recent research in Kenya, the author argues there are significant disconnections between recent global refugee policy formulations and refugee experiences of participation. The objective of this working paper is to explore the experiences of refugees and refugee leaders in the Kakuma Refugee Camp and Nairobi, Kenya, and in doing so, to try to understand the role played by refugee-led organizations, particularly in the decision-making, planning and implementation of refugee programming. (Open access) Read here.

Global Report on Internal Displacement. (April 2020) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. This report highlights the scale of displacement around the world and efforts to address it and provides an overview of major regional patterns, impacts and risks. It also casts light on the highly specific nature of each displacement situation and discusses some of the collaborative steps and tools that could be used to help millions of Internally displaced people achieve a sustainable end to their predicament. Read here.

Migration Research Series No. 60 – Migrants and the COVID-19 pandemic: An initial analysis by Lorenzo Guadagno. (2020) IOM UN Immigration. This Migration Research Series paper offers an initial analysis of the specific ways migrants have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also presents the diverse measures which have been adopted in receiving and origin countries to prevent, mitigate and address the negative impacts of the pandemic. Its objective is to provide insights for more inclusive and effective COVID-19 responses as the pandemic unfolds to ensure that migrants are duly included. Read here.

Issue Brief: A Crisis on Top of a Crisis: COVID-19 Looms Over War-ravaged Idlib by Sahar Atrache. (April 2020) Refugees International. A new report from Refugees International details the province’s protracted humanitarian crisis, the state of the region’s decimated healthcare system, the roadblocks hindering the province’s response in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, and recommendations for a path forward. Read here.

Issue Brief: Gender Matters: COVID-19’s Outsized Impact on Displaced Women and Girls by Devon Cone. (May 7, 2020) Refugees International. This report examines how COVID-19 exacerbates the challenges women and girls already face in displacement. The author explores the gendered impact of the pandemic on Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, asylum seekers in Greece, IDPs in Syria and South Sudan, Venezuelans across Latin America, and forcibly displaced women and girls in other areas of the world. The author sets out the key steps that should be taken as part of the global pandemic response to protect displaced women and girls. Read here.

News reports and blog posts

The Challenges in Covid19 Times for Refugee Determination and Accessing Protection by Elspeth Guild. (April 28, 2020) Refugee Law Initiative on Refugee Law and Forced Migration. This blog examines the efforts of the EU (and associated countries including the UK) to comply with their obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, in particular, in regards to the processing of asylum applications. Read here.

Will COVID-19 finally force us to reconsider the Global (Im)mobility Regime? By Emilie McDonnell (April 16, 2020) Refugee Law Initiative on Refugee Law and Forced Migration. Given the impact of COVID-19 on human movement, it is pertinent to reflect more generally on how the global mobility regime is constructed, its incompatibility with several human rights, and how to limit the negative and counterproductive effects of COVID-19 restrictions. As the global community works to overcome this pandemic, we are presented with a unique opportunity to challenge and re-consider the global immobility regime. Read here.

Why Refugees are an Asset in the Fight Against Coronavirus by Alexander Betts, Evan Easton-Calabria and Kate Pincock. (April 28, 2020) The Conversation. Refugee-led organisations have long played an important but neglected role in providing protection and assistance to other refugees – and host communities – in camps and cities around the world. The authors argue the work of these refugee-led organisations is now more relevant than ever as the formal structures of humanitarian aid struggle to respond to the consequences of COVID-19. They are already doing life-saving work, and they need to be far better supported. Read here.

Digital and social media

Webinar series: The READY Initiative, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins University and the Center of Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH) are hosting a weekly webinar series on COVID-19 and humanitarian settings. Past and upcoming webinars can be accessed here.

Migration working group virtual Meeting (May 27, 2020). The Migration Working Group offers the opportunity for researchers to present their ongoing projects, learn about each other’s work and share feedback. Discussions will be moderated by Anna Triandafyllidou, the Ryerson Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration and a professor in the Department of Sociology at Ryerson University. Register here.

April 30, 2020: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 85

Recent Publications and New Research

Strømme, E.M., Haj-Younes, J., Hasha, W. et al. Health status and use of medication and their association with migration related exposures among Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Norway: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 20, 341 (2020). The health of forcibly displaced individuals changes along their migration path and estimates of disease burden are essential to develop health care policies and practices adequately corresponding to their health care needs. This study aims to describe the health status and use of medication among Syrian refugees in two different migration phases: in a transit setting and in a recipient country. Further, the authors investigate the associations between migration related exposures and both chronic pain and mental health among Syrian refugees. (Open access) Read Here.

Carroll, H., Luzes, M., Freier, L., & Bird, M. (2020). The migration journey and mental health: Evidence from Venezuelan forced migration. SSM – Population Health10, 100551. Using migration of Venezuelans to Peru as a case example, the authors surveyed migrants on mental health and migration factors at the Ecuador-Peru border. They found that the link between migration factors and mental health is concerning, as the associated distress may influence post-migration mental health. (Open access) Read here.

Pincock, K., Betts, A., & Easton-Calabria, E. (2020). The Global Governed?: Refugees as Providers of Protection and Assistance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Based on fieldwork in refugee camps and cities in Uganda and Kenya, this book examines how refugee-led organisations emerge, the protection and assistance they provide to other refugees, and their interactions with international institutions. The book shows how, despite a lack of recognition and funding, many refugee-led organisations and networks provide crucial sources of social protection, enhancing livelihood, health, and access to education. The authors offer an alternative vision for more participatory global governance. More here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Without essential protections: a roadmap to safeguard the rights of asylum seekers in Greece. (April 23, 2020) Refugees International. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 reaching pandemic levels, the Greek Asylum Service (GAS) announced that it would suspend all administrative services and not receive new asylum applications until at least May 15, 2020. Further, the Greek government has proposed a new bill that removes protections for asylum seekers and ensures that access to asylum will become even more difficult and restrictive. This report lists recommendations for Greek asylum authorities and laws, as well as the European Union and it’s members. Read here.

Ilcan, S., Thomaz, D., & Jimenez Bueno, M. (2020) Private sponsorship in Canada: the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. IMRC Policy Points, Issue 17. This paper unpacks the lessons from resettlement of Syrian refugees in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, and highlights the resettlement experiences of privately sponsored refugees in this area. It draws on policy, program, and scholarly documents, and on a selection of 55 semi-structured, in-depth interviews on direct experiences of resettlement in southern Ontario, Canada. The authors emphasize that strong leadership by governments and civil society groups and organizations is crucial in the private sponsorship of Syrians, and that more policy attention and research are needed to improve the private sponsorship program in the K-W region. (Open access) Read here.

News reports and blog posts

Governments Need to Do More for Refugees Affected by Coronavirus: Here’s How by Cristiano D’Orsi (April 15, 2020) The Conversation. Governments and international organisations are coping with the ways in which the most vulnerable categories of society such as refugees will be affected, but many countries don’t have clear plans. The author reviews the COVID-19 response by the UN while focusing on recommendations for what should be done. Read here.

How New Tools are Meeting the Challenge of Measuring Refugee Self-Reliance by Dale Buscher and Kellie Leeson (April 16, 2020) Rethinking Refuge. How can we measure refugee self-reliance, one of the objectives of the UN’s Global Compact on Refugees? In this article, the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative presents a tool for measuring self-reliance and shows how it can be used in effective programming. Read here.

Car-sharing in Lebanon: Overlooked Practices of Collective Self-reliance by Estella Carpi (April 9, 2020) Rethinking Refuge. Humanitarian agencies often decide refugee eligibility based on identity categories that do not acknowledge the collective nature of socio-economic practices. This study of car-sharing in Lebanon challenges these approaches and offers an alternative model. Read here.

Health for all: COVID-19 and global health. Interview with Iman Ahmed (April 1, 2020), Spring Magazine. Spring Magazine spoke with Iman Ahmed, a global health specialist, about COVID-19 from an international health perspective. This interview touches on pandemic preparedness and response for refugees including lessons and comparisons. It includes topics such as state repression as well as changes in the labour market and the affects on the healthcare system. Read here.

Refugees Among Hundreds of Overseas Medics to Respond to NHS Call by Karen McVeigh (April 17, 2020) The Guardian. Refugee organisations and applicants have described the NHS England scheme as a good “first step” to allow doctors unable to complete registration to have a clinical role. But they urged the government and the General Medical Council (GMC) to find alternative solutions to allow them to work as doctors, saying the current process is too long, bureaucratic and expensive. Read here.

Digital and social media

Podcast: Nadim’s Story – A Bangladeshi asylum seeker living in the UK (March 9, 2020) Refugees’ Stories. This season’s focus is the lives of those who have sought asylum for their sexuality or gender identity. This episode follows Nadim, a young man from Dhaka, Bangladesh who currently lives in London. Listen here.

April 16, 2020: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 84

Recent Publications and New Research

Kraly, E.P., Hovy, B. (2020). Data and research to inform global policy: the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. Comparative Migration Studies 8, 11: The aim of this paper is to make explicit the insights, proposals and recommendations from stakeholders in the development of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) regarding the role of evidence in effective international migration governance. The systematic organization of results is intended to express opportunities for engagement of social and population scientists in analyses that complement priorities and recommendations of stakeholders. Available Open access here.

Horst, Cindy, et al. “The ‘Good Citizen’: Asserting and Contesting Norms of Participation and Belonging in Oslo.” Ethnic and Racial Studies: ERS Open, vol. 43, no. 16, Routledge, Dec. 2020, pp. 76–95. The authors investigate what constitutes a “good citizen”. Based on empirical data, the authors argue for a reconceptualization of good citizenship that acknowledges present-day spaces of participation as both public and private, and which acknowledges scales of belonging that go beyond and below a narrowly defined national community. Such reconceptualization is necessary to include and recognize the diversity of participation and belonging unfolding in Europe today. Available open access here.

New E-book: Samaddar, R. (ed.) (2020). Borders of a Pandemic: COVID-19 and the Migrant workers: India is in a complete lock down mode. This online publication by the Calcutta Research Group is based on contemporary reflections by journalists, social scientists and social activists, legal practitioners, and thinkers, which highlight the ethical and political implications of the epidemic in India – particularly for India’s migrant workers. This book is written as the crisis unfolds with no end in sight. It is a tract of the time. Available Open access here.

Purkey, A. L. (December 2019). Refugee Dignity in Protracted Exile: Rights, Capabilities and Legal Empowerment. Routledge. This book investigates how effective human rights and the inherent dignity of refugees can be secured in situations of protracted exile and encampment. The book deploys an innovative human rights-based capabilities approach to address fundamental questions relating to law, power, governance, responsibility and accountability in refugee camps. In this work, legal empowerment is explored as a strategy through which power can be redistributed and individual agency exercised within the refugee context. Thus, by helping to increase the capability of refugees to participate actively in the decisions that most affect their core rights and interests, participatory approaches to legal empowerment can also assist in securing other capabilities, ultimately ensuring that refugees are able to live dignified lives while in protracted exile. More information available here.

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Religion and Social Justice for Refugees: Insights from Cameroon, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Mexico. Bridging Voices, UCL-Yale Research Report (March 2020). Drawing on over 300 interviews with refugees, members of local host communities and locally based organisations in towns, cities and camps in Cameroon, Greece, Malaysia, Mexico, Lebanon and Jordan, the report identifies and examines the ways that faith plays an important role in supporting social justice for refugees. This demonstrates a clear disconnect between what policy makers and practitioners assume that ‘refugees need’ and what refugees consider to be essential requirements, as prerequisites to dignity and justice. Read more here.

Ferreira, N., et al. (2020). Governing protracted displacement: An analysis across global, regional and domestic contexts (TRAFIG working paper 3). Bonn: BICC. This working paper explores the governance of protracted displacement across global, regional and domestic levels in the context of the project “Transnational Figurations of Displacement” (TRAFIG). The multiple contemporary crises that have led to forced displacement show not only the limits of a tight definition of ‘refugee’, but also highlight the gaps in international protection frameworks. A significant number of those forcibly displaced are in protracted displacement situations. Read more here.

Report: COVID-19 Disease Response, Situation Report 6 (April 9, 2020) IOM. Global restrictions have left some migrants stranded waiting in transit centers for their voluntary return. Most of the transit centers have already reached maximum capacity; overcrowding and lengthy stays are leading to increased tensions and psychological stress, while potentially also putting migrants at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Read more here.

Report: COVID-19 Response: IOM Regional Office for Asia Pacific, Situation Report 4 (April 11, 2020). Localized outbreaks and the implementation of public health measures, such as lockdowns and social distancing across the region, have led to multiple instances of sudden mass migrant movements, exacerbating individual and community vulnerability and potentially driving further transmission. There are also increasing reports of stigma and discrimination towards migrants at destination, transit and home locations upon return due to fears around COVID-19 transmission. Read more here.

News reports and blog posts

Family reunification and COVID-19: reflections on the situation of refugees, By Louisa Brain, LIDC Migration Leadership team, (March 30, 2020). This blog brings reflections and recommendations on family reunification for refugees in the context of COVID-19 in Brazil. While this blog post does not challenge the importance of restrictive measures to collective health, it presents some reflections on family reunification procedures for refugees worldwide who are living this difficult moment. Read more here

The Right Technology Can Help Refugees Stay Connected (March 11, 2020) RAND. This essay underscores the importance of smartphones for refugees to stay connected to family and friends as well as their life prior to displacement. There has been tremendous investment in developing apps specifically for refugees, and a lot of it has been wasted. United Nations should consider establishing worldwide frameworks for the ethical and effective use of technology in refugee settings. Read more here.

First Person: False Promises in Mauritania (March 28, 2020), UN News. Women and girls face particular challenges as migrants, whatever their reason for leaving their country of origin. UN agencies are learning more about these difficulties, and how to address them. This news report draws on real life examples of how gender interacts with migration. Additionally, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project aims to bring more attention to the circumstances in which women and girls die or go missing during their journey and bring about policy change. Read more here.

Blog post: What COVID-19 Means for Climate Displacement Policy Progress by Kayly Ober, (April 13, 2020) Refugee International. Across the world, governments are rightly focused on the COVID-19 crisis. However, it is imperative that policy makers don’t lose sight of other global challenges, including those related to climate change. Despite progress in climate displacement in the past year, the community may need to be on guard in a COVID-19 world for a variety of reasons such as budget cuts and border closures. Read more here.

Blog post: Coronavirus exacerbates dangers for migrants in Mexican detention by Rachel Schmidtke (April 3, 2020) Refugees International. Migration stations can be found across the country, with some of the largest located on Mexico’s southern border where migration traffic is most dense. Conditions in Mexico’s migration stations have been criticized for years, but as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the country, the new risks facing detained migrants and asylum seekers in these migration stations are revealing longstanding issues. Read more here.

Digital and social media

@Refugees UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency created a short video highlighting how to come together to win the fight with COVID-19 while not leaving anyone behind. Watch here.

April 1, 2020: RRN Research Digest – Special issue on Displacement and COVID-19

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 83

A message from the RRN editorial team:

The novel Coronavirus has rapidly and drastically changed everything about our daily lives. Its effect on the global scale is by far no less. We want to make sure refugees and displaced populations (as well as other vulnerable populations) are not overlooked during this pandemic.  In this special issue we have curated news, material and resources that address the implications of COVID-19 on displacement (populations and policies). The objectives of this effort are to:

While there hasn’t been a lot of peer-reviewed work published yet (especially in social sciences) about COVID-19 and displacement, we encourage you to point us to or share with us any relevant contributions, resources or virtual events to include in the digest and share with our wide network and social media followers at

Stay safe, stay connected,

Dina Taha and RRN digest editorial team 


COVID-19 and the Displaced: Addressing the Threat of the Novel Coronavirus in Humanitarian Emergencies, Refugees International. This new global report surveys how this global pandemic is impacting—and will continue to impact—more than 70 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), and other forced migrants around the world. “The scale and speed of the pandemic underscore how deeply interconnected the world’s populations are. Nevertheless, at precisely the moment when global solidarity and cooperation are essential, many nations are turning inward as they seek to protect their citizens. But a virus does not respect borders. Nor does it discriminate. A truly effective response, not to mention a morally correct one, also must not discriminate” Read the full report here.

What have we learned from the past?

  • Elias, C. J., Alexander, B. H., & Sokly, T. (1990). Infectious disease control in a long-term refugee camp: the role of epidemiologic surveillance and investigation. American Journal of Public Health. This report demonstrates the role of epidemiologic surveillance and investigation in the control of infectious diseases in a long-term refugee camp. Read more.
  • Truman, B. I., et al (2009). Pandemic influenza preparedness and response among immigrants and refugees. American Journal of Public Health, 99(S2), S278-S286. Vulnerable populations and their service providers need information to overcome limited resources, inaccessible health services, limited English proficiency and foreign language barriers, and inexperience applying recommended guidelines. This article summarizes advice from an expert panel of public health scientists and service program managers. Read more.
  • Spiegel, P. B., & Nankoe, A. (2004). UNHCR, HIV/AIDS and refugees: lessons learned. Forced migration review, 19, 21-23. Refugees are often doubly discriminated against firstly, for simply being refugees and secondly for being falsely accused of bringing HIV/AIDS with them into host countries. In order to reduce stigmatization and to ensure that the whole population has access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care interventions, UNHCR is working to ensure that refugees are integrated into host government HIV/AIDS policies and programmes. Read more.
  • Wickramage, K., et. Al. (2018). Missing: where are the migrants in pandemic influenza preparedness plans?. Health and human rights, 20(1), 251. Evidence indicates that social stigmatization and anxieties generated by restrictive immigration policies hinder undocumented immigrants’ access to health rights and minimizes immigrants’ sense of entitlement to such rights. Read more.

How is COVID-19 affecting displaced populations and migration policies?

  • Canada’s changing coronavirus border policy exposes international students’ precarious status, Carlo Handy Charles, The conversation, March 19, 2020. Carlo analyzes the repercussions of Canada’s border closure on temporary residents, such as international students in Canada and abroad. We have learned that Shortly after Carlo’s commentary, the Canadian government responded and passed guidelines making it clear that international students were exempted from the travel restrictions. Read more
  • Changes to the asylum and immigration process due to Covid-19, Right to Remain (March 25): Because of the Coronavirus public health crisis, there have been some temporary changes to the asylum and immigration process in the UK. This blog post tracks the most important ones. Read more.
  • The world’s largest refugee camp prepares for COVID-19, by Gaia Vince, BMJ: British Medical Journal (March 25, 2020). Nearly a million refugees live in overcrowded conditions in the camps of south Bangladesh. This article reports on the growing fears of an imminent, catastrophic outbreak of COVID-19 from overcrowding to poor sanitary conditions and tracks UN efforts to respond. Read more. Also related check: Rohingya refugee camps a Covid-19 time bomb.
  • Crisis within a crisis: immigration in the United States in a time of covid-19, By Muzaffar Chishti and Sarah Pierce, Migration Policy Institute, March 26, 2020. The anxiety triggered by the pandemic for long-term residents and recently arrived immigrants alike, legal and unauthorized, is exacerbated by fear of immigration enforcement, suspension of immigration benefits processing, and the high number of asylum seekers and other migrants in immigration detention. Read more.
  • Five Ways COVID-19 Is Changing Global Migration, by Erol Yayboke, Center for Strategies and International Studies (March 25, 2020). This article traces how in addition to the grand disruptions to daily life, the pandemic could be fundamentally changing the face of global migration in at least five keyways. Including, increasing global inequality, the continuation of travel restrictions, and an increase in “irregular” migration. Read more.
  • COVID-19: Agencies temporarily suspend refugee resettlement travel, UN News (March 17, 2020). Two UN agencies (UNHCR and IOM) announced last Tuesday that they are temporarily suspending resettlement travel for refugees. The spread of the new coronavirus has seen countries drastically reduce entry into their territories, while international air travel has been restricted in some regions. Read more
  • How Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Reshape Refugee and Migration Governance? by Kristin B. Sandvik and Adèle Garnier, PRIO blogs (March 27, 2020). This blog post identifies marginalization, legal distancing and the ambiguity of care as the key characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic response currently reshaping refugee and migration governance. Read more.
  • Third World refugees battle COVID-19 without basics such as clean water to wash their hands, by Richard Warnica, National Post (March 20, 2020): Doctors and nurses in the field face a stark dilemma: stay and serve as supplies dry up or come home while they can, knowing they will not be replaced. Read more.  Also related check: The struggle to stay safe from COVID-19 in a refugee camp.
  • COVID-19 delays refugee hearings and puts lives in limbo by Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald (March 21, 2020). The coronavirus forced the Immigration and Refugee Board to postpone all in-person hearings and mediations, other than detention reviews, effective March 17 through to April 5 at the earliest. Read here
  • Leaving no-one behind: Ensuring people seeking asylum and refugees are included in COVID-19 strategies, Refugee Council of Australia: (March 25, 2020): The RCOA hosted a teleconference with 65 representatives of organisations around Australia, to bring together concerns and ideas about the most pressing issues for people seeking asylum and refugees resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the summary here

How Refugees are stepping-up and how might we leverage the pandemic against anti-immigration rhetoric?

  • Refugees to the rescue? Germany taps migrant medics to battle virus, Reuters, by Riham Alkousaa and Paul Carrel (March 25, 2020). Five years ago, the arrival of a wave of refugees caused much consternation and fueled support for Germany’s far-right. Now, the country is turning to its migrant community to plug an anticipated shortage of medical staff battling the coronavirus. Read more.
  • Covid-19: call for fast-track registration of refugee doctors in UK, by Diane Taylor, The Guardian (March 25, 2020):  Hundreds of refugee doctors have called on the government and the General Medical Council to fast-track their accreditation so they can help the NHS tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more.
  • What happens to freedom of movement during a pandemic? By Sandro Mezzadra, Open Democracy (March 24, 2020). This article demonstrates how Restrictive border measures endanger the lives of vulnerable populations for whom movement is a means of survival. “The arguments are on our side… the virus does not respect borders.” Read more

What are some global and local responses and solutions to the pandemic and its effect on displacement?

  • Three ways our programmes are fighting coronavirus, Norwegian Councils on Refugees (March 28, 2020): The NCR is tracing 3 ways they are fighting the spread of the virus among the world’s most vulnerable communities. Read more here.  
  • Live blog: Refugees in the COVID-19 crisis: this is a liveblog that traces some of the ways that UNHCR staff, people forced to flee and supporters around the globe are taking action to stay smart, stay safe and stay kind. Read more.  
  • No Safe Place: Refugees and the Coronavirus, Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D., Psychology today (March 28, 2020). Raising awareness of a looming pandemic while offering unrealistic preventive methods may heighten people’s fear and deepen their sense of vulnerability. This article has recommendations to support vulnerable displaced populations across the globe including delivering clean water and soap to refugee populations as soon as possible, installing hand-washing stations in refugee camps, and an immediate release of Asylum-seekers held in detention centers if they pose no threat. Read more.
  • Q&A: Access to health services is key to halting COVID-19 and saving refugee lives, By Jonathan Clayton, UNHCR News (March 27, 2020). Ann Burton, Chief of UNHCR’s Public Health Section, outlines the dangers the new coronavirus poses to refugees and internally displaced people and describes how the agency is working to slow its spread, reduce its impact and save lives. Read more. Also related, check Refugees and displaced highly vulnerable to COVID-19.

What are some helpful resources for refugees, sponsors and frontline workers?

  • IOM Mobility Restrictions COVID-19: To better understand how COVID-19 affects global mobility, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been working to map the impacts on human mobility, at Global, Regional and Country level. Subsequently, the IOM have initiated an interactive map that reflects the following activities: COVID-19 Travel Restriction Monitoring and COVID-19 Country Points of Entry (PoE) Status Baseline Assessment. Access here.
  • UN Corona Portal and News updates: Readers can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here or subscribe for daily UN news here.
  • CCR COVID-19 Resources: The Canadian Council for refugees has curated a list of public documents from different institutions in Canada including the IRCC, IRB, Federal courts and UNHCR. Access here.
  • BC Refugee HubCOVID-19 Updates: The BC Refugee Hub will be curating information about COVID-19 relating to refugees and refugee claimants in British Columbia. This webpage will be updated regularly as more information becomes available. Access here
  • COVID-19 Resources for Sponsors & Newcomers, Ottawa-Carlton District School Board: This resource links to multi-language resources and factsheets on COVID-19 that can be shared with refugee sponsors and refugees sponsored under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR), the Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR), the Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) and the Government Assisted Refugees (GAR) programs that have already arrived in Canada. Access here.

Upcoming Events (despite physical distancing!)

  • Refugee leadership in response to COVID-19 global online conference: Refugees are coming together to show resilience and readiness in the response to covid-19. More information here.
  • Upcoming event, Covid-19 in Latin America: tackling health care & other impacts for vulnerable migrant populations, MPI webinar, April 2, 2020. More information here.
  • A webinar series as part of the new Colloquium on Refugees, Migrants & Statelessness on What the COVID-19 Pandemic Means for Refugees. The Webinar takes place on Wednesdays April 1 from 11AM-12PM CST. More information about the series here. 


Refugee women in Zaatari camp are making soap to prevent Coronavirus.

March 19, 2020: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 82

Recent Publications and New Research

Belloni, M. (2020). The big gamble: the migration of Eritreans to Europe. University of California Press. The author untangles the reasons behind Eritreans making life-threatening journeys across Africa and the Mediterranean risking their lives to reach European countries where so many more hardships await them. The book contributes to ongoing debates about blurred boundaries between forced and voluntary migration, the complications of transnational marriages, the social matrix of smuggling, and the role of family expectations, emotions, and values in migrants’ choices of destinations. Available at (open access):

Asis, M., & Feranil, A. (2020). Not for adults only: toward a child’s lens in migration policies in Asia, Journal on Migration and Human Security. This paper provides an overview of challenges faced by children as migration actors. It considers the policy responses and programs that select countries in East, South, and Southeast Asia have developed to address children’s experiences and concerns in the context of Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The paper argues, the good practices that have been implemented in a number of the countries provide a template for how to translate the Compacts’ objectives into action and how to ensure that the full protection and best interests of migrant children, the left-behind children of migrant workers, and those who are part of multicultural families remain a priority. Available at (open access):

Williams, L., Coşkun, Emel, & Kaska, S. (2020). Women, migration and asylum in Turkey: developing gender-sensitivity in migration research, policy and practice. Palgrave Macmillan. This Book examines Turkey’s asylum and refugee regime from a feminist perspective and analyses migration trends and policy through a gendered lens. It highlights the ways in which international migration regimes are gendered and critically investigates the feminisation of migration while also demonstrating how gendered migration flows have diversified in recent decades. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Women and girls in internal displacement (March 2020), International Displacement Monitoring Centre. This report presents the first global, regional and national estimates of the number of women and girls living in a situation of internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence. Internal displacement situations associated with disasters are also discussed. It also highlights examples of good practices and successful initiatives from around the world, and discusses some of the policy options governments and aid providers can consider. Available at:

Report: Unseen victims, why refugee women victims of gender-based violence do not receive assistance in the EU by Lilja, I., Kervinen, E., Lietonen, A., Ollus, N., Viuhko, M., and Jokinen, A. (February 2020), European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control. This report informs policymakers and practitioners who work in the fields of criminal policy, crime prevention, asylum and migration policy as well as integration. The empirical evidence presented in this report is intended to initiate concrete steps and structural and legal changes to improve the position of refugee women who have experienced gender-based violence. The authors present clear recommendations on how to achieve this at the end of this report. Available at:

Report: Immigration detention in the Republic of Korea: penalising people in need of protection (February, 2020), Global Detention Project. South Korea has implemented increasingly restrictive asylum and migrant worker policies. The government does not provide adequate data about immigration detention, making it challenging to assess trends in the country. This report highlights that children, victims of trafficking, and other vulnerable groups can be subjected to indefinite detention, often in facilities where detainees have reported instances of abuse; asylum seekers can find themselves stranded for months in privately operated airport “holding areas”; and national and international human rights bodies have repeatedly called for reforms in the country’s immigration detention centres. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

The Crisis in Idlib: Testimony by Hardin Lang (March 11, 2020), Refugee International. Hardin Lang, Vice President for Programs and Policy provided a testimony at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He addressed the crisis in Idlib, its humanitarian implications and prospects for the current ceasefire recently agreed to between Turkey and Russia. Lang and his team had the opportunity to investigate the nature and scope of what has become the worst humanitarian chapter of Syria’s longstanding brutal war. Summary and video available at:

The fragmented politics of the Syrian refugee crisis jeopardises the future of millions by Juline Beaujouan and Amjed Rasheed (March 10, 2020), The Conversation. The authors argue that amid this fragmented regional landscape and the politicisation of the crisis at the regional and national levels, the fate of Syrian refugees remains unclear. Russia has offered to facilitate dialogue between host countries and the Assad regime regarding the return of Syrian populations, but the ongoing process of their return to their home country might now be hampered by diplomatic tensions between Syria and its neighbours, especially Lebanon and Turkey. Available at:

Digital and social media

Refugees International @RefugeeIntel, (March 15, 2020). As the war in Syria enters its tenth year, the most horrific chapter of the conflict is unfolding in Idlib province. A short video captures the realities of life in Idlib from refugee woman sharing what her friends and family now face. Available at:

March 5, 2020: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 81

Recent Publications and New Research

Cities and Towns (February, 2020), Forced Migration Review, Issue 63, Refugee Studies Centre. In the 20 articles on Cities and towns in this issue of FMR, policymakers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of cities and international city-focused alliances, and displaced people themselves debate the challenges facing both the urban authorities and their partners, and those who have sought refuge. A number of authors explore new ways of working in urban settings – including area-based approaches, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and city- to-city collaboration – while others offer insights and inspiration from local responses and the perspectives of displaced and host communities. Available at:

Batarseh, R. C. (2019). “Perfect Vision”: An examination of the role of census and profiling practices in visualizing and crafting refugee ‘groups’ under Contemporary Group Resettlement Programs. Journal of Refugee Studies, Oxford University Press.
This article demonstrates how the characteristically visual practices of boundary-making around prospective refugee groups comprise an important and instrumentalized version of what Rogers Brubaker (2004) calls ‘groupism’. Current practices in relation to this concept are the preconditions for the writing of specific narratives of risk, persecution and flight in UNHCR group profiles. An examination of group resettlement reveals how officials do not just choose between pre-existing refugee groups based on racial, national and ethnic categories, but rather attempt to construct an idealized conception of groups reflected in Brubaker’s notion of groupism. Available at:

Atuguba, R. A., Tuokuu, F. X. D., & Gbang, V. (2020). Statelessness in West Africa: An Assessment of Stateless Populations and Legal, Policy, and Administrative Frameworks in Ghana. Journal on Migration and Human Security. Drawing on qualitative interviews that are complemented by the analysis of government policy documents, this study examines statelessness in Ghana. It addresses a range of policy, legal, institutional, administrative, and other politico-socioeconomic matters attendant to the concept. This study defines statelessness, identifies its consequences, and offers several recommendations to prevent and reduce it in Ghana. Available at (Open access):

Brankamp, H. (2020), Refugees in uniform: community policing as a technology of government in kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, Journal of Eastern African Studies. This article demonstrates that the deployment of community policing in Kakuma camp in north-western Kenya has been far more contested. Aid organisations and Kenyan authorities have competed in determining the orientation and implementation of community policing at a time when the government was intensifying both securitisation of refugees and counter-terrorism measures. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the article illustrates that governing refugees through community policing blurs the lines between humanitarian protection, domesticating local systems of governance, and expanding the security state. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Unprepared for (re)integration: Lessons learned from Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria on Refugee Returns to Urban Areas (January 31, 2020), ReDSS. This study addresses programming and policies in relation to refugee returns and, specifically, with regards to their (re)integration within urban areas, with a focus on Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. While millions of refugees return to poverty, conflict and insecurity in all three settings, a tunnel focus on returns rather than on (re)integration has limited value for long-term planning. Stakeholders, including communities and returnees themselves, have been unprepared for what happens post-return. Available at:

Report: A voice in their futures: The Need to Empower Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh by Daniel Sullivan, (February, 2020), Refugees International. The situation for the Rohingya remains bleak despite some positive news in recent weeks. Conditions in Myanmar for those Rohingya who remain are grim. In Bangladesh, the government has put in place a series of security measures that limit the access of the Rohingya to the outside world leading to desperation inside the camps. This report is based on a recently conducted fact-finding mission in Bangladesh, which includes data from interview representatives of UN agencies, the government of Bangladesh, local and international NGOs, and Rohingya refugees themselves. Based on the findings the author reports that Rohingya are not meaningfully engaged and informed about decisions that affect them and proposes a path forward. Available at:

Report: Lebanon at a Crossroads: Growing Uncertainty for Syrian Refugees by Sahar Atrache (January 30, 2020), Refugees International. With a population estimated at around 6 million, Lebanon is host to the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. This massive influx has posed immense challenges to this small country, which lacks the adequate resources, infrastructure, and political will to respond to refugees’ needs. Lebanon is at a crossroads. Violence is rising, as is the use of excessive force against protestors and activists. The increasing drift toward repression threatens to further destabilize the country and undermine the situation of all people in Lebanon, including refugees. The current issue of Syrian refugees and pressures for their return will almost certainly be a priority for the new government. The author urges for the crisis to serve as an opportunity to radically change Lebanon’s approach toward refugees and its most impoverished citizens. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

Brazil’s humane refugee policies: Good ideas can travel north by Audrey Macklin (February 11, 2020), The Conversation. This article examines Brazil’s recently set bold precedent that should make northern states adjust the lens. Its policy toward Venezuelan refugees, in contrast to its wealthier peers, is pragmatic, humane and sensible. The author concludes that there is something to learn from Brazil, and if they can find an efficient, pragmatic way to welcome, protect and integrate hundreds of thousands of forced migrants arriving at its border, so can more affluent states. “Good ideas — like good people — can migrate north, and we should welcome them”. Available at:

The future of refugee resettlement: Made in Europe? By Susan Fratzke and Hanne Beirens (February, 2020), Migration Policy Institute. Europe’s new role as a resettlement innovator and the largest collective provider of resettlement spaces globally offer both an opportunity and responsibility. The question European and EU leaders face is what to do with their newfound resettlement muscle. The seating of the new European Commission and ongoing deliberations around how to implement UNHCR’s resettlement strategy offer an opportunity for European leaders to define an answer. The authors provide a number of recommendations for European leaders to consider. Available at:

Digital and social media

News Audio: Displacement, Youth voices, Women’s Equality by Daniel Johnson, United Nation News, (February 25, 2020). News in Brief from the United Nations covering top stories including the displacement crisis by UN chief Guterres, perspective of a refugee woman on her hopes for the future, and challenges to women’s equality. Available at:

February 27, 2020: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 80

Recent Publications and New Research

Stathopoulou, T., Eikemo, T. A. (2019), New Perspectives on the European Refugee Crisis. An Empirical Review, Journal of Refugee Studies, 32(1), i1–i252.

This Special Issue includes eighteen articles that contribute to evidence concerning refugees’ situation in European reception and destination countries from a multi-disciplinary perspective, highlighting priorities for policy and future research. The contributions consist of studies from final-destination countries in Northern Europe, first-reception or transit countries in Southern Central Europe and from the Eastern Mediterranean. Evidencing the health status of refugees is one of our key priorities, arguing that health and especially mental health-care provision should be the basis for the implementation of integration policies to be successful. The first aim of this special issue is to obtain more knowledge about the physical and mental health of refugees. The second aim is to evaluate existing screening mental health measurement tools. The third aim is to provide new knowledge about the conditions under which refugees live in terms of the attitudes of host populations, the media discourses that frame these attitudes and the asylum policies in several European countries. Available at (open access):

Easton‐Calabria, E., Herson, M. (2020), In praise of dependencies: dispersed dependencies and displacement. Disasters, 44: 44-62. This article reframes the humanitarian consequences of displacement in terms of ‘dispersed dependencies’, a term drawn from the field of mental health, sheds light on the disruptive experience of displacement and on affected individuals’ relations with other displaced people, hosts, states and humanitarian actors. Dependency for a person is neither a problem nor abnormal; independence is having a viable set of dispersed dependencies. This description, when applied in the context of disaster or displacement, challenges some humanitarian attitudes and offers some positive directions for humanitarian actors who seek to engage in assistance that is sustainable, contextual, and focused on human choice and dignity. Available at (Open-access):

Rodgers, C. (2020). The ‘Host’ Label: Forming and Transforming a Community Identity at the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Journal of Refugee Studies. This article calls for greater critical attention to the meaning of the term ‘host community’ and the ways in which it is applied. Taking the Kakuma refugee camps in north-western Kenya as a case study, the author describes the rise of a ‘host community’ identity in the context of humanitarian programming, contested attempts to define it as a bureaucratic label and its transformations under a socio-economic-integration agenda. While the case presented here is specific to Kenya, the argument is relevant more broadly as hosts are brought under the purview of refugee-protection policies, especially in countries implementing the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Available at:

Okafor, O. C. (2020). Refugee law after 9/11: sanctuary and security in Canada and the Us. Vancouver: UBC Press. Refugee Law after 9/11 undertakes a detailed, systematic examination of available legal, policy, and empirical evidence to reveal a great irony: refugee rights were already so whittled down in both countries before 9/11 that there was relatively little room for negative change after the attacks. It also shows that the Canadian refugee law regime reacted to 9/11 in much the same way as its US counterpart, raising significant questions about the power of security relativism and the cogency of the Canadian and US national self-image. The author explores the logic behind changes in refugee law in Canada and the United States following 9/11 and up to the present, uncovering the reasons for the orientation of their respective refugee rights regimes in specific ways. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Briefing paper: Advancing multi stakeholder engagement to sustain solutions, Learning from the application of the CRRF in East Africa to inform a common agenda post GRF, (December 2019), ReDSS. This briefing paper aims to document learning around the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) application in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia and at the regional level with the role of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) through a thematic approach. It highlights learning from new ways of working as well as opportunities that the application of the CRRF has enabled in three key areas: (1) return and (re)integration; (2) area-based and locally-led approaches; and (3) regional and national level engagement around the CRRF process. Crosscutting issues such as multi-stakeholder approaches, accountability and adaptability are brought out across all themes. Available at:

Report: Immigration Detention in Austria: Where the Refugee “Crisis” Never Ends. Global Detention Project, (January 2020). Austria’s domestic politics have long been overshadowed by a divisive and bitter public debate over the treatment of migrants and refugees. This has had an important impact on the country’s detention practices. Despite years of declining detainee numbers prior to the onset of Europe’s short-lived refugee “crisis,” the increase in asylum applications that the country experienced during 2015-2016 became a cause for resurgent xenophobic political forces, who used the issue to rally support for numerous controversial policies and agendas. These developments have translated into persistent increases in detention numbers long after the “crisis” ended and asylum applications began to plummet to their lowest levels in years. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

What Does ‘Social Cohesion’ Mean for Refugees and Hosts? A view from Kenya by Cory Rodgers
(January 17, 2020), Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS).
Most refugee policies and programmes forgo definitions of ‘social cohesion’. Given this lack of specification, the author’s research looks at social cohesion initiatives through an anthropological lens. The aim is to understand how – in the absence of initial definitions by policymakers and planners – different meanings of social cohesion nonetheless emerge during the life of a programme. The author draws from a case study in Kakuma camp in north-western Kenya, where the UNHCR has provided protection to refugees and asylum seekers from South Sudan, Somalia, the Great Lakes Region and elsewhere since 1992. Available at:

Home affairs department racked up $6.1m bill transferring refugees and asylum seekers by Paul Karp (January 28, 2020), The Guardian. The author provides a breakdown of cost expenditures related to transferring refugees and asylum seekers interstate and between detention centres. Some argue that Australia’s immigration detention regime is unnecessarily punitive and cruel, as well as a colossal waste of money. Available at:

Digital and social media

The Observatory of Public attitudes to Immigration (OPAM), Scientific Hub  (2020), Migration Policy Centre. Observatory of Public attitudes to Immigration (OPAM) brings together and synthesises findings from a growing body of scientific research in political science on attitudes to immigration. The Scientific Hub created an interactive web tool that allows you to see the effect of diverse factors on attitudes to immigration. The Hub draws from all relevant articles published in the top 20 journals in political science between 2009-2019. It allows for exploration of evidence that seeks to account for the factors that can influence attitudes to immigration. Available at:

News Audio: Syria, migration, and Ebola, United Nation News, (February 14, 2020).  This is the News in Brief from the United Nations covering top stories on vital Idlib aid deliveries resume after ‘heavy bombing’, world’s busiest sea route for migrants, and a drop in Ebola infections that are encouraging but fragile. Available at:

January 30, 2020: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 79

Recent Publications and New Research

Dina Sabie, Samar Sabie, Cansu E. Dedeoglu, Yasaman Rohanifar, Fatma Hashim, Steve Easterbrook, and Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed. 2019. “Exile Within Borders: Understanding the Limits of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Iraq.” In Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Computing within Limits – LIMITS ’19, 1–16. Lappeenranta, Finland: ACM Press. Research in Information & Communications Technology (ICT) about forced displacement focuses mainly on refugees. Internally displaced people (IDPs), however, are rarely discussed in ICT and related disciplines. This paper aims to fill in the gap and provide an insight into the everyday lives of conflict-driven IDPs and their ICTs usage based on original fieldwork at several IDP and refugee camps in northern Iraq. The work includes extended field observations, surveys with 86 IDPs and 47 refugees, and examination of recent reports about IDPs from international NGOs that have been active in that region. The findings illustrate that IDPs live under similar resource-constrained environment as refugees and, in some cases, suffer from even harsher restrictions. It highlights how these confines limit their ICTs usage and discuss opportunities for future ICT research and policy implication to improve the quality of life of the displaced residing within their own borders. (Open access) Available at:

Canefe, N. (2019). In Lieu of an Introduction: Orbis Tertius as Vantage Point. In N. Canefe (Ed.), Transitional Justice and Forced Migration: Critical Perspectives from the Global South (pp. 1-6). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. This edited volume aims to foster an in-depth understanding of the link of transitional justice and forced migration studies in a comparative framework, with a particular emphasis on debates emanating from the Global South. Each of the contributions to this volume adheres to a multidisciplinary and multi-sectorial approach, incorporating academic, practitioner, and activist work, in tandem with both global and local perspectives. In order to achieve such a synthesis, the authors build upon the knowledge accumulated by collaborative networks, their involvement in both scholarly and activist organizations, and their experience as practitioners in select settings. Normatively or politically speaking, the study of human suffering, induced by mass political violence and at the hands of states turned against their own peoples, is not an easy one. Available at:

Canefe, N. (2018). The Syrian exodus in context crisis, dispossession and mobility in the Middle East. Istanbul: Istanbul Bilgi University Press. This book examines the Syrian crisis and exodus by focusing on the experiences of the dispossessed rather than the recipient states. Reintegration and resettlement after situations of mass displacement are generally long-term, multi-faceted and complex processes. Whether we are talking about acceptance in a new society as refugees, migrants, and guest workers, or returning home to postconflict situations, each scenario involves both specific physical challenges and difficult encounters with broader political communities. The debate presented here on precarity and statelessness in terms of systemic denial of access to rights, or, their selective attribution to Syrians on the move, allows us to reconsider the Syrian exodus in a new framework that links forced migration, labour studies, citizenship and rights debates rather than isolating the refugee experience. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Losing Their Last Refuge: Inside Idlib’s Humanitarian Nightmare by Sahar Atrache, Refugees International (September 2019). A Refugees International team traveled to Turkey in June 2019 to research the impact of the Syrian regime military offensive on Idlib and its surroundings, assess humanitarian needs, and examine the humanitarian response to the unfolding crisis. They conducted more than 50 interviews with representatives of Syrian, international and Turkish non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, Turkish think tanks, and western governments, as well as Syrian activists and western donor officials. In aim to better understand the humanitarian situation on the ground, the team conducted phone interviews with IDPs, relief workers, and activists inside Idlib. Available at:

Working paper series: States of Refuge: Keywords for Critical Refugee Studies, Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, (January 9, 2020). This issue has contributions by authors from many universities across Canada. It is based on keywords that were collectively generated to animate discussions within the field of refugee studies. Participants reflected on their respective keywords and answered questions such as, what conversations are the keywords involved in and what is critical about them? The result was a range of interventions on keywords that open up critical thinking on what is at stake politically, culturally, and socially with new dynamics of migration, refuge, and reclamation. The keywords that follow speak to fundamental challenges facing refugee studies included community, decolonization, genders, sexualities, empathy, humanitarian exceptionalism, indebtedness, irregularity and more. Available at:

Liew, Jamie and Zambelli, Pia and Thériault, Pierre-André and Silcoff, Maureen, Not Just the Luck of the Draw? Exploring Competency of Counsel in Federal Court Refugee Leave Determinations (2005-2010) (November 8, 2019). Refugee claimants who have received a negative decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board sometimes judicially review the decisions at the Federal Court in Canada. Previous statistical studies, in particular Sean Rehaag’s (2012) study, “The Luck of the Draw”, have reported that rejected refugee claimants seeking judicial review face low and inconsistent leave grant rates, with chances of success largely dependent on judge assignment. The present research looks beyond these quantitative findings to identify additional factors that may explain the troubling statistics. Available at SSRN: or

UNHCR’s Recommendations for the Croatian and German Presidencies of the Council of the European Union, (January, 2020) United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees. UNHCR has launched what it views as a set of ambitious but achievable recommendations for the 2020 Croatian and German Presidencies of the Council of the European Union (EU). The Presidencies and the envisaged EU Pact on Migration and Asylum are seen as unique opportunities to better protect forcibly displaced and stateless people in Europe and abroad, while supporting host countries. Progress was achieved in multiple areas including on resettlement and statelessness. This paper provides the incoming Council Presidencies with key recommendations for areas of possible action to strengthen the implementation of the EU acquis on asylum and to forge common ground among member states on evolving issues of asylum and migration, in line with the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Migration.  These recommendations will also be of relevance for the incoming Commission’s new Pact on Migration and Asylum (new Pact). UNHCR’s full recommendations

News reports and blog posts

Why Rohingya women and girls are risking dangerous smuggling routes by Caleb Quinley, (January 16, 2020), The New Humanitarian. Facing years of deprivation and bleak future prospects, a growing number of Rohingya women and children are using once-dormant smuggling routes to escape refugee and displacement camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Despite the dangers, groups that work with Rohingya say many more women and children are willing to take the risk as a way of self-protection from sexual and gender-based violence. Available at:

Digital and social media

Aid policy trends to watch in 2020 by Ben Parker (January 2, 2020) The New Humanitarian.

Efforts toward reform seem a permanent fixture in the humanitarian sector, but change is slow. The author lists humanitarian policy issues to keep a close eye on as most likely to drive change, open up opportunity, or demand attention in shaping emergency response. Available at:

January 9, 2020: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 78

Recent Publications and New Research

D’Orsi, C. ‘Legal protection of refugee children in Africa: positive aspects and shortcomings’ (2019) 3 African Human Rights Yearbook 298-317. In Africa, refugee children are at risk mostly because the continent lacks a clear definition of ‘sovereignty’. African countries interpret the adjective ‘sovereign’ to their own advantage, in terms of the rights and responsibilities imposed on foreigners – including refugees – entering their territory. Although the overall treatment of refugee children has improved over the last decades, they remain vulnerable. If refugee children are targeted because they are ‘foreigners’, such discrimination could be curbed and even eradicated through the education of the youth. The various international treaties that African nations have adopted provide an important legal umbrella for the protection of refugee children. However, in many instances, the bulk of the protection is still carried out by NGOs. Consequently, there is still a long way to go before African refugee children will be treated with dignity that is due to all children in the world, irrespective of their origin. Available at:

Hopkins, G., L. Buffoni (2019) The IGAD Kampala Declaration on jobs, livelihoods, and self-reliance: from declaration to reality. Palgrave Commun 5, 157.  The article emphasizes the crucial importance of planned and active participation, inclusion and collaboration of all parties as being fundamental in realizing in practice refugees’ right to work and access to economic opportunities. Because the Kampala Declaration commitments form a central role in realizing Global Compact objectives, the article argues for high level meetings and fora to prioritize an approach to discussions which creates enabling contexts of formal but inclusive dialog. The article concludes, importantly, that the Kampala Declaration demonstrates that the commitment and language of inclusion exist. What remains is for truly collective action to ensure the Declaration achieves its transformative potential. Available at:

Cénat, J. (2019). Multiple traumas, health problems and resilience among Haitian asylum seekers in Canada’s 2017 migration crisis: Psychopathology of crossing. Journal of Loss & Trauma. In summer 2017, thousands of Haitian asylum seekers entered Canada irregularly after taking an 11,000-kilometer pathway from Brazil to the U.S., often on foot and under difficult circumstances. This qualitative study examines how this pathway and associated multiple traumas impact their mental health. The findings showed that significant traumatic consequences and risk of deportation contribute to the development of a “Psychopathology of Crossing”. This study also highlights how meaningful social relationships, quality of health, and social services foster resilience. Available at:

Bloch, A. (2020) ‘Reflections and directions for research in refugee studies’, Ethnic and Racial Studies. This paper reflects on how refugee studies have developed, and it identifies areas for future research. First, it sets the scene through an overview of refugee protection regime and on patterns of displacement. Second, it explores the development of theories that try to explain refugee movements. Third, examines the policy focus of refugee studies and the inherent tensions between stakeholders. This is followed by an exploration of three areas for further research: durable solutions, borders and bordering practices and the inter-generational impacts of refugee migration. The paper argues that social science disciplines have an important role to play in the field of study but need to include historical analyses and engage in inter-disciplinary alliances to enable shifting paradigms. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Report: Volunteers and Sponsors: A Catalyst for Refugee Integration? By Susan Fratzke and Emma Dorst (November 2019). Migration Policy Institute. This report considers where community members can add the most value to integration efforts, assesses the barriers that community organizations and integration service providers face in engaging volunteers, and offers recommendations for how policymakers can facilitate the effective engagement of communities in integration initiatives. While volunteer efforts cannot replace specialized social service agencies or well-resourced social assistance programs, they offer unique resources that can be an invaluable complement to the services that professional agencies and case workers provide. Yet engaging volunteers or community sponsors is hardly a cost-free or even cost-saving endeavour for most resettlement and integration agencies, and dedicated resources must be provided to establish and maintain effective community engagement. Available at:

Skill utilization and earnings of STEM-educated immigrants in Canada: Differences by Degree Level and field of study by Garnett Picot and Feng Hou (December 13, 2019). Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series. This paper examines the skill utilization and earnings of employed immigrants educated in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), by field of study and degree level. Compared with the Canadian-born with similar levels of education and in similar fields of study, immigrants with a bachelor’s degree had considerably lower skill utilization rates and earnings outcomes than those of doctoral degree holders. This is mostly because immigrant doctoral graduates are more likely to be educated in a Western country. By field of study, immigrant engineering graduates, particularly at the bachelor’s level, had relatively weaker skill utilization rates and earnings outcomes; immigrant computer science graduates did somewhat better. Much of the gap between the earnings of immigrant and Canadian-born graduates was associated with differences in country of education. STEM immigrants educated in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or France had outcomes similar to the Canadian-born. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

Our Silenced Voices: What we lose while working with international “humanitarian” organizations, by Ayah Al-Oballi (January 5, 2020), 7iber. “What I write today is an attempt to shed light on the voices that are lost and silenced in the realm of INGOs. It is also an attempt to find my own voice through documenting a set of questions and reflections on my experience in that space. A space which I respect those who choose to stay within, yet resist any relinquishment of their own voices or their silencing of others” read more:

Global Refugee Forum: EU MS Pledge 30,000 Resettlement for 2020, MEPs Urges More Ambition (December 20, 2019) European Council on Refugees and Exiles. During the Global Refugee Forum taking place in Geneva, December 16-18, EU member states made pledges for resettlement efforts in 2020, backed with financial support from the European Commission. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) hosting the event estimates the global resettlement needs at 1.44 million and a delegation of MEPs called for more ambitious resettlement efforts. Available at:

Digital and social media

Panel: rethinking community, rights and displacement: theory and practice. This panel was hosted at the refugee hosts international conference. this panel conceptualised ‘rights’ in relation to the lives, stories and experiences of those affected by displacement, including on the level of the individual and of ‘the community’. This included reflections on the conceptualisation of ‘the community’ itself in relation to rights. You can watch the videos of the presentations of  Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge (Refugee Hosts – University of Birmingham), Dr Tamirace Fakhoury (Lebanese American University), Dr Anna Rowlands (Refugee Hosts – Durham University), and Dr Zeynep Kivilcim (Humbodt Universitat zu Berlin) at:

Events and calls

The Here and Now in Forced Migration: Everyday Intimacies, Imaginaries and Bureaucracies An international workshop organized by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity 22-23 October 2020. For more information: 

December 12, 2019: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 77

Recent Publications and New Research

Jureidini, R., & Hassan, S. (Eds.). (2020). Migration and Islamic Ethics. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. This book addresses how Islamic ethical and legal traditions can contribute to current global debates on migration and displacement; how Islamic ethics of muʾakha, ḍiyāfa, ijāra, amān, jiwār, sutra, kafāla, among others, may provide common ethical grounds for a new paradigm of social and political virtues applicable to all humanity, not only Muslims. The present volume more broadly defines the Islamic tradition to cover not only theology but also to encompass ethics, customs and social norms, as well as modern political, humanitarian and rights discourses. The first section addresses theorizations and conceptualizations using contemporary Islamic examples, mainly in the treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees; the second, contains empirical analyses of contemporary case studies; the third provides historical accounts of Muslim migratory experiences. Available at: (Open Access)

Mata, F. (2019). Occupational Niche Preferences of Canada’s Refugee and Non-Refugee Workers: Explorations Using Census Data. This grey literature piece explores the occupational niche preferences of refugee workers and non-refugee admission class workers who entered Canada between 1981 and 2016. Data explorations found that the Canadian immigrant workforce consists of a highly stratified arrangement of workers and that there is significant variability in terms of their occupational preferences according to admission class, gender, ethnicity and racial backgrounds. Multivariate data analysis found that two major dimensions explained more than half of the data variation: a gender-occupational and an admission class divide related one. In contrast to economic class workers, visible minority groups of various gender, admission classes and ethnic backgrounds were found in the most disadvantaged positions in terms of occupational status and their employment income returns. Presented at: “Inclusion: Third Annual Forum on Measuring Identities” November 21-22, 2019, Association for Canadian Studies, Gatineau, QC. Available at:

Murat, M. (2019) Foreign aid, bilateral asylum immigration and development. Journal of Population Economics. 33(1). This paper measures the links between aid from 14 rich to 113 developing economies and bilateral asylum applications during the years 1993 to 2013. The results show that asylum applications are related to aid nonlinearly in a U-shaped fashion with respect to the level of development of origin countries, although only the downward segment proves to be robust to all specifications. Asylum inflows from poor countries are significantly and negatively associated with aid in the short run, with mixed evidence of more lasting effects, while inflows from less poor economies show a positive but non-robust relationship to aid. Moreover, aid leads to negative cross-donor spillovers. Applications linearly decrease with humanitarian aid. Voluntary immigration is not related to aid. Overall, the reduction in asylum inflows is stronger when aid disbursements are conditional on economic, institutional and political improvements in the recipient economy. Available at: (Open Access)

Conant, L., Hofmann, A., Soennecken, D., and Vanhala, L. (2019). “Patrolling the boundaries of belonging? Courts, law and citizenship,” in Research Handbook on Law and Courts, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. This chapter explores how courts and law have contributed to the evolution of citizenship. Theoretically, it draws on Christian Joppke’s distinctions between citizenship as status, rights, and identity as a means to analyse different facets of belonging within political communities. Substantively, it emphasizes the United States and European Union as historical projects where law and courts were particularly important in constructing national and supranational citizenship, respectively. It also examines tensions evident in postnational memberships, such as the de facto partial citizenship of unauthorized immigrants and exclusion of many refugees from any citizenship. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Immigration, refugee, ethnocultural and racialized populations and the social determinants of health. (Feb, 2019). Mental Health Commission of Canada. This report highlights select sociodemographic trends and issues related to immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural, and racialized populations’ mental health and well-being, identified from 2016 Census data by the MHCC Collaborative on IRER Mental Health. The collaborative prioritized a number of key social determinants that influence mental health, including language, income, education, unemployment and underemployment, discrimination, and hate crimes. This data shows that immigrants experience a range of equity-related issues after settling in Canada — with many having an impact on outcomes related to health and well-being — and it speaks to an increasingly urgent need for action. Available at:

Good decisions: Achieving fairness in refugee law, policy and practice (2019). Insights Report Kaldor Centre Conference. Every day, decisions are made about whether people need international protection because they are at risk of persecution or other forms of serious harm. The 2019 Kaldor Centre conference explored aspects of refugee decision-making from the micro to the macro level – from individual cases through to wider public policy. It brought together decision-makers, scholars, civil society and people with lived experience of seeking asylum to discuss how to ensure that refugee decision-making is fair, transparent and protection-sensitive. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

Does the EU violate public procurement law in its external migration policy by Thomas Spijkerboer & Elies Steyger, EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy (November 28, 2019). In 2014-2015, the European Union adopted three financial measures in order to cooperate with neighbouring countries in the field of migration policy. The European external migration funds are subject to the ordinary public procurement rules to which both the member states and EU institutions themselves are subject. This requires open, transparent and objective procedures that are not taking place. In light of these concerns about the transparency of the way in which public funds are spent, this blog outlines how expenditure under the migration funds relates to European public procurement law. Available at:

Why some EU countries are struggling to relocate migrants by Raluca Bejan, The Conversation (December 1, 2019) The relocation matter returned to public attention this September, when Germany, France, Italy and Malta called for the implementation of a new system to automatically distribute migrants across the EU. Implicitly the member states are expected to show solidarity in emergency situations and that solidarity efforts should be equally shared. This author discusses an ongoing debate regarding what constitutes an equal share of responsibility and what type of indicators are best suited to reflect a fair and equitable distributive scheme. Consensus on solidarity efforts and on how responsibility should be shared and implemented might lead to less political friction and more fruitful co-operation in the EU. Available at:

Digital and social media

The Overlooked Undocumented Immigrants: From India, China, Brazil by Miriam Jordan (December 1, 2019) President Trump has focused on blocking unauthorized crossings at the southern border, however, nearly half of those living in the country unlawfully, entered with permission. Available at: